The O-town Scene

May 10, 2012

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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A Single Dad by Raul O'Toole Oh, Brother I've got a question for all you parents in non-traditional families out there. How accustomed are you to dealing with judgmental family members deciding they know what's best for you and your kid when, in fact, they don't have a clue what they're talking about? I suspect that more than a few of you are rolling your eyes reading this, thinking "duh, of course!" I admit, though, it's a new one for me. Maybe I'm lucky. Heck, I know I am. My family has been incredibly supportive of my efforts to establish a great life for my son and I, no matter how far we might stray from what's commonly referred to as a "traditional" family. I recently learned that I was wrong about that, at least in the case of my little brother. I'll spare you the twisted details, but suffice it to say he saw fit to place a ranting phone call to our mother recently to complain about how "harsh" and "oppressive" it was that Little Raul was made to eat broccoli with his cheeseburger at a recent meal. Keep in mind, this is a 30-year-old man with a wife and in- fant daughter who has apparently yet to figure out that green vegetables are good for you. What's more, it would seem that he believes the substitution of broccoli for French fries is equivalent to waterboarding. What I wouldn't give to be that kind of coddled! At any rate, what bothered me more than his naiveté was his cowardice. If you've ever got anything to say about me or my family, please, say it to me. If you're that outraged by my parenting, I'd really like to know about it. I'd like to have the opportunity to discuss with you why you're wrong, rather than having to hear about it second-hand. I suppose I should feel lucky to have only encountered this kind of malarkey now. I know there are plenty of folks out there who have to deal with this kind of crap on a daily basis, and it's really disheartening. It's just so … juvenile. I would like to believe that adults can put aside their petty grievances and focus on the task at hand, namely rais- ing great kids. If Little Raul's mother can do it, I've thought, anybody can. But clearly I'm wrong. I've learned an important lesson. I stand corrected. Here's hoping those of you out there who have to deal with this junk on a regular basis are stronger about it than I. No doubt you are. No doubt the courage of your convictions car- ries you past this kind of judgment. No doubt you continue to raise your kids to be open-hearted adults who truly know that the boundaries of families are defined only by the scope of the love they emit. And for the love of God, feed them broccoli now and then. Raul O'Toole is a single dad raising a young son in the Oneonta area. May 10, 2012 O-Town Scene 5

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